When I was young, my late grandfather tried to impress upon me the value of learning something new every day. As I have gotten older, I have tried to put this practice into . . . uh . . . practice. Some days, I do it quite well, like the day I learned that when you heat something with a hole in it, the hole gets larger (instead of smaller, as I had first thought). Other days, my newfound knowledge is worthless, almost to the point of embarrassment. Did you know that it is possible to buy a bag that is full of little colorful cardboard-ish cereal marshmallows?
I learned this fact quite by accident. Mrs. JPC and I were driving Son No. 1 north to South Bend (Indiana is like that – we have to drive south to get to North Vernon, too) so that he could catch a ride back to the Dominican community in St. Louis. On the way, we stopped at a place that is becoming a favorite stop for fresh or unusual foods. Wilson Farm Market in Arcadia, Indiana is the place, which you really must check out if you find yourself in the area. For example, this has become my go-to for the French Burnt Peanuts that I wrote about last year.
As we walked through the candy area (on the way to the ice cream counter – yeah, this place is not always good for us) the lad’s eyes lit up. “Lucky Charms Marshmallows!” And he was right – there were bags of pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers and whatever other colors and shapes they have added since my childhood when the stuff first came out.
He reminded us that it had always his opinion that if only General Mills would have filled the box with just marshmallows and left the actual cereal out, this would be the perfect breakfast. I never shared that opinion, because in addition to not caring much for the frosted oats in Lucky Charms, I was never a great fan of the marshmallows, either.
Our son’s fondness for Lucky Charms got the Mrs. and I thinking about what our favorite childhood cereals had been. At my house, Cocoa Krispies were King. We didn’t get them often, mainly because even at a young age I could power through a box in about three days. And who doesn’t love making your own chocolate milk in the bowl? Truth be told, I could still do some major damage to a box of Cocoa Krispies, which is why I never buy them. I have enough bad dietary habits without bringing Breakfast Crack into the pantry. If Kellogg’s has not trademarked the term “Breakfast Crack”, it should.
The Mrs.’ version of Breakfast Crack is Cap’n Crunch. Her life was filled mostly with Cheerios and Shredded Wheat, so when Cap’n Crunch made it into their house of five kids, it was not there long. Me? I always found it good for tearing up the roof of my mouth and not much more. But perhaps my animus comes from the time that they hit me in my weak spot and started putting toy cars in the boxes.
I plowed through the Regular and Crunchberry varieties quickly enough (for a Mustang and a Barracuda, if memory serves), but in order to get the red Dodge Charger Daytona (the one with the crazy three-foot-high wing on the back) I had to fight my way through the Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter cereal. Now I could deal with Cap’n Crunch, and I also like peanut butter. But some things just do not belong together. And in the house where I grew up, there would be no throwing out of perfectly edible cereal just because I had already gotten the car.
The car was, of course, near the bottom of the box. (Another house rule was “no digging of your hands through the cereal box. If you can’t see the toy, then you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.” My mother was of German ancestry, and there were rules. Finally came the day when the plastic wrapper of the red Charger peeked through that awful cereal and success was at hand. Until I fumbled when putting my prize together and broke it. Not even a red Dodge Charger Daytona could make me commit to another box of that stuff, and thus passed the only chance I will ever have in this lifetime of owning one.
My, this has been quite a segue from the Bag O (cardboardish) Marshmallows that started this piece, so I guess I need to get back on topic. A goodly-sized bag of the things left the store with us that day and went into our son’s luggage. Once he looked at me with a perfectly straight face and said “They’re magically delicious”, I shook my head and told him to go ahead and get them. I am told that the colorful but hard little nuggets have been quite popular among the younger residents of the Dominican Priory, who are keen to nosh on them as snacks (to the consternation of the older priests living there.) I suppose when we visit next, we had better take a bag or two along to contribute to the well-being of the student brothers, who are undoubtedly unable to add them to the Priory’s normal shopping list. Maybe they will find ways to work them into their preaching?
Maybe you already knew that these bags of little marshmallows were a thing. They apparently are, because when we stopped by the same place last weekend we were in line behind some other young guy who bought a bag of them. But in case you were as surprised to learn about these as we were, you have just gotten a free head start should you decide to put my grandfather’s rule into practice. You’re welcome.